A grandad has come up with ingenious plan to run a women-only charity race - by dressing up in DRAG to take part.
Ray Buckley is so adamant about taking part in the Race For Life 5km run in aid of Cancer Research UK that he is donning a wig and make-up and wearing women’s clothes for the event.
Race For Life does not allow men to take part but the 59-year-old dad-of-three and stepdad-of-one is hoping he can raise money for charity himself after years of watching his wife Sheila, 65, and stepdaughter Julie Woolley, 45, taking part.
The grandad-of-three, from Wallasey, Merseyside, explained: “For the last five years I have been around the course with Sheila and Julie taking pictures of them and watching from the sidelines.
"The last three years I have tried to enter as a contestant, but sadly I have always been told men cannot enter the race.
"Why? Men suffer breast cancer, indeed any form of this vile disease.
"Last year after Sheila and Julie finished the race and collected their medals, Sheila said she would try and get one for me too because I had gone the whole way round with them.
Women only: Race For Life does not allow men to take part (Caters)
"She was told by an organiser they were not allowed to give medals to any men.
"My stepdaughter said ‘next year you should run it as a woman, you’d probably get a medal then’ and the idea for Ray(Chel) was born.
"It is such a fantastic event and it runs so well – I don’t want to criticise the way it is run, but I just want to be able to take part too.”
Ray was inspired to support Cancer Research UK by Sheila, who has been cancer free for ten years after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and undergoing a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiotherapy.
He is also running in memory of his sister-in-law Christine McGregor, who died of lung cancer six years ago aged 59, and Sheila’s brother-in-law Norman Banks who died from multiple myeloma, a former of leukaemia, three years ago aged 64.
Ray, who is diabetic and had a hip replacement 13 years ago, has spent £70 on a race day outfit of pink striped leggings, pink legwarmers, a pale pink shirt and top, pink earrings and a pink wig.
Make up: Ray hopes his drag outfit will let him take part (Caters)
He plans to hire a professional makeup artist to complete the look for the race in Birkenhead Park in the Wirral this Sunday, and has already raised more than £500 in pledges.
In the unlikely event Ray is banned from taking part in the race by Cancer Research UK, he will complete the 5km distance in a different location in his own time.
Cancer Research UK guidance states Race for Life was unique when it was launched in 1994 because it was a woman-only event and that allowing men to enter “could bring in less income for the charity’s life-saving work”.
The information adds: "The atmosphere on the day of Race for Life events has a strong sense of sisterhood, uniting all women with a common goal, to raise funds to beat cancer.
Cancer Research UK also said men can get involved in Race for Life by volunteering or can enter other events open to both genders.
To make a donation to Ray’s fundraising appeal go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/raychelbuckley
Top pic: Caters